The Co-Founder and CEO of LORIOT, Julian Studer, joins Ryan Chacon on this episode of the IoT For All Podcast to discuss the general situation and growth of IoT and LPWAN. Julian begins by introducing himself and LORIOT before discussing the IoT market as a whole. He also talks about what is contributing to the growth of IoT and the improvement being made in the connectivity space. At the end of the episode, Julian discusses challenges he’s seen in the market and the approach LORIOT is taking.
Julian Studer is the Co-founder and CEO of LORIOT, the Enterprise-grade LoRaWAN Network Server Provider, operating globally in over 150 countries plus supporting 11 nationwide rollouts and more than 35 smart cities worldwide. Julian has a financial background with a Master’s Degree in Economics and more than 10 years of experience in the Swiss and international Banking and Finance industry. Riding his motorbike through the Swiss Alps and freediving in the most remote corners of the globe are his greatest passions and a way to discover the world from different perspectives.
Interested in connecting with Julian? Reach out on Linkedin!
LORIOT is a global IoT company founded in Switzerland in 2015 with the mission to enable long-range IoT solution deployments in every corner of the globe (and even space!). The Internet of Things (IoT) is a game-changer, disrupting every industry sector. They provide a growing distributed LoRaWAN® and mioty® infrastructure and an easy-to-use software platform that enables users to build, operate, and scale a secure IoT network. Due to a unique positioning in the LPWAN ecosystem as both software provider and network operator, their Hybrid Network Management System is one of the market’s most powerful, complete, and secure solutions. It ensures their clients, who are Telecos, Utilities Companies, System Integrators, Local/City Governments, Bluechip Companies, and Multinational Organisations, have the highest standards for their enterprise-grade deployments. Their vision is a future where IoT is accessible to everyone, to transform lives, improve services and protect the health of our planet.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:46) Introduction to Julian and LORIOT
(04:20) Founding story
(05:52) General situation of IoT
(07:55) Contributors to growth
(12:35) Improvements in connectivity technology
(17:32) Challenges in the industry
(19:25) LORIOT’s approach to the market
– [Voice Over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcasts, the number one publication and resource for the internet things. I’m your host Ryan Chacon. And if you are watching this on YouTube, truly appreciate it if you give this video a like so that thumbs up button and hit subscribe if you haven’t already done so. If you’re listening to us on a Podcast directory somewhere else, please subscribes if you haven’t already done so as well. So you get the latest episodes as soon as they’re out. All right, on today’s episode we have a Julian Studer, the CEO and founder of LORIOT. They are a global IoT company. They were found in Switzerland in 2015 with a mission to enable long range IoT solution deployments in every corner of the globe, even space, which is pretty cool. So fun conversation that we had today. We talk a lot about the, or we start off by talking about the founding story of the company, which is always exciting. We talk about general, the general situation in the IoT industry as well as the LPWAN space, the the main verticals that long range IoT is kind of built for use or success stories that they’ve seen and the industry has seen in the LoRaWAN space. And then why the company has chosen this hybrid approach that we dive into a bit and kind of big challenges they see in the market. So, so very valuable, good conversation. I think you’ll, you’ll be pretty excited that you, you spent the time to listen to cause I really enjoy this conversation and thought it was really good one. So I hope you enjoy this. But before we get into it, any of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market but don’t know where to start. Check out our sponsor Leverege, Leverege’s IoT solutions development platform provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more go to iotchangeseverything.com. That’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Julian to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Julian] Yeah, thank you. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity having this virtual interview with you.
– [Ryan] Absolutely Looking forward to it. Let’s kick this off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself. Any background experience that’ll be relevant for our audience will be helpful.
– [Julian] Yeah, so my name is Julian Studer, I’m the founder of the company LORIOT. So we are in the IT business. We are a purely software company and before starting with the company in 2015, so we are seven years old by now. I worked 10 years in the banking financial industry in Switzerland. We worked for one of the biggest banks for 10 years in Geneva and in Zurich and 2015 I had somehow an invoice or something telling me that I wanted or needed to change the sector as the financial industry became a bit much too compliance, legal oriented and it was a good opportunity to start in the IoT sector. And already by then in 2015 it looked very promising to start a company in the IoT field.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. And I wanted to get into that founding story here in a second, but tell us a little bit about what your company does, kinda the overall focus and role you play in IoT.
– [Julian] Yeah, we are set fully software based. So we don’t produce any kind of sensors or gateway. So normally when you speak to people and you start telling them about IoT, about connecting stuff with the internet, the first thought is always okay, there must be some kind of sensor and gateway, which is true but normally people always think about something they can hold in their hands and as we produce only software, it’s not something you can really touch. It’s digital, It’s weird tool and that’s then a bit more complex to explain. But in easy words, what we do or what we have is a management tool in where our customers and partners can build IoT networks. We are like the brain, the management tool of connecting all the sensors and connecting all the gateways and create the harmony to build this IoT network. So first the management tool, then we have the encryption, the transport of all the data that arises at the server. And from the server side the, third point is we have APIs to push the data to whatever kind of IT platform. It can be in Microsoft, it can be Azure, it can be in IBM, or it can be something self created by the, by the end customer.
– [Ryan] Gotcha. Fantastic. So I wanted to ask you if you could take us a little bit through kind of the opportunity you saw back when you started the company and just kind of the overall opportunity in the market. What caused, you know, the shift from, you said the banking industry into the technology and then the IoT space, kind of what was that journey like?
– [Julian] Yeah, so I needed a switch and in the banking financial industry, I still think today it’s one of the most interesting sectors out there. So I’m still fascinated about the stocks, about investments. If you work at the bank with investments, you are absolutely up to date what economically doing worldwide, what politically is happening. So you’re always really up to date worldwide what is happening. I missed this a little bit from that perspective, but the other perspective that in 2015 before change a lot was really that this financial industry was heading very strong towards the sector. There was more like compliance legal in the end I felt more like a lawyer doing due diligence KYC of the customers than doing the proper investments. And that’s something I never liked that much. The whole admins stuff, the the legal compliance stuff. And in the same time I, I started to hear more and more about IoT, about software, very promising and I always had a big motivation to build something by myself. And so those were a bit the the key drivers to, to change completely the sector.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So let me break here for a second And I wanted to kinda shift to talking about the industry as a whole now. From where you all sit, the way you kind of look at the market, what is the general situation in IoT today from your perspective?
– [Julian] Maybe let’s jump back 2015 when I met you first reading about market research, I mean the predictions of the coming years up to 2025 or even longer were extremely bullish. I mean everywhere an exponential was predicted And up to today I can confirm that the sector is south is one of the most booming sectors and especially now with the war in Ukraine or after the COVID scenario, we see the more and more applications are coming with use cases specifically for that. But in general, IoT is booming. What I can say today is it’s growing, it’s stable, it’s, it’s a good market to do business. You do, you need to do it properly because you see like startups growing up like grass in the field, so many new startups are coming. One thing I still don’t see is this holistic, this exponential growth of IoT sensors connected. Cause four or five years ago, professionals were predicting that we would face as strong exponential growth. We see it that it’s a bit faster than in a previous years. Besides it’s pretty linear growing in the last two years and this marketer is expecting around the 22% of growing the IoT market, which is quite significant compared to other markets. But this really big bullish explosion of exponential glow and grow and holistic, we haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like because big use cases, especially in the metering segment are starting right now. And there it’s all about the quantity of of sensors. So we really hope that in the next let’s say two, three years we see an exponential growth in this, in this sector.
– [Ryan] And, and just as a whole for the industry, what do you think is contributing the most to the, the growth and also the projected growth? What’s changed as of as of recently? What are the big kind of trends that you’re seeing that are giving kind of that optimistic outlook?
– [Julian] Yeah, trends I’m, I would say IoT in general, the bird industry, 4.0 is already a trend. And the funny thing is sometimes we get approached by companies in most of the cases those are governmental institutions and the tells like yeah Julian, you know, we need to do something in Industry 4.0. We need to be modern, we need to see, we need to show to our people that we are modern, we are doing something. What is Industry 4.0? What can we do? So this question pops up quite a lot and then we explain them what IoT is, what they can do, et cetera. But I think the motivation for IoT, I would say it’s always like three motivators that governmental institutions or companies motivate to implement IoT. And I would say one thing is if you can improve security, I mean today as said, it’s very legal compliance driven the markets. If you can improve somewhere in a, in a company or in the state, pure security, just imagine smoke sensors, detection of water leaks et cetera. This is one motivation. The second motivation is if you can save money, because investing in technologies, investing in something for the end user partner, it’s always a question, how do I save money or how do I produce money and produce money is the third. So we have customers that build the, to resell the connectivity. That’s the way they do. They do their business and they earn money with their own margins. On the other side, we have companies that have implemented IoT to reduce their own cost. It can be leakage. I mean just think about insurances to play sensors in New York under the rooftops to debt mine if there is a humidity. Cause if the humidity grows under the rooftop, they have time to prepare the roof before the big catastrophe starts because if it’s too late then the whole roof is done, Humidity is in your phones et cetera. And insurances are investing a lot of money in cases like that where they can predict catastrophes and act before the catastrophe happens. And this is a way of saving money.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. I think the saving money and potentially creating other revenue streams because of the sophistication of the technology and the more general just well understood know how of how to build these solutions at scale, how to do this well. We’ve had a number of years now where we got through kind of that very early adopter phase. We have a lot of people who have been able to roll out solutions, watch and see that, that these solutions can be successful and not only reducing costs and making companies more efficient but at the same time can actually open up new revenue streams for businesses depending on how it’s structured obviously. And I think one of the things that helped IoT during COVID was the fact that it was, it’s a technology and an offering that enables an organization to save money, especially in a time of so much uncertainty. This is something that the investment is well worth it as opposed to something that’s more risky to potentially make revenue but then it doesn’t actually kind of turn out that way given certain market conditions. So I think because that inherent like money or revenue or I guess cost saving efficiency kind of improvements IoT has has been able to really succeed when when other markets may not have been as successful.
– [Julian] Absolutely today to the three points I mentioned, I might add a fourth point which has become also like some kind of fashion and the keyword here is sustainability. Cause all the large companies they want to be presented in market with a good picture and sustainability is one of the big themes here. So we have larger food companies, we have companies that are in the agriculture field, et cetera and sustainability is a big theme set here. If they can improve security like the people have better conditions or just imagining a simple use case in the agriculture where right they can control much better the water consumption where water is only used when it’s really needed or they can reduce water leakages, et cetera. This is all connected to sustainability and it’s not only about security and saving money, but it’s also good for their reputation for their picture outside towards the world.
– [Ryan] Totally agree. And one of the things that I was, I mentioned a second ago which I wanted to ask you about is the general improvement in the technology and the options that are out there to make use cases more, more I guess prob plausible to be, to be built and deployed. And the big area I think of that outside of the hardware side is the connectivity side. So there’s lots of different connectivity tech technologies that are, that have been released that are growing and improving and are bringing and the cost is coming down on those in order to provide better coverage, better options to mesh with or match with the use case and what it actually requires. So there’s really no overkill. It’s not like you’re using 5G for instance, for every potential use case. You don’t need that. You have other types of connectivity out there available to you. And one that I think really played a big role is, is kind of the low power wide area network side of things, the LPWAN. And I wanted to ask you from your guys side of things, how has that really driven adoption and kind of how do you kind of see that fitting into the market and its role as as it kind of currently states Now.
– [Ryan] That’s by the way, very good and smart question because people might ask, okay, why are there so many communication layers? And I had like three or four weeks ago I had another one interview and I was also asked what’s the best IT technology? And here I always like to bring the to comparison with, let’s say if I, Ryan, I’m asking you what’s the best car for you? And then you will think, you will probably ask me what am I going to use the car for? Am I going to the racetrack, I’m going to off road or am I going for holidays with my family? Right? And it’s pretty the same with the communication layers. And what I also learned with the communication layers is you cannot improve something and think that all the rest will stay the same. It’s a bit similar than with economics. Either you decide for inflation or you fight against the unemployment, but you can hardly work on, on both sides, improve both. And that’s why let’s say we have many technologies in the field and the low power wide area networks. I was saying before that the average growth in the last year, this year and probably the next year is between 20% and 25%. But the growth from the low power wide area communication layers like LoRaWAN or mioty, they are growing a bit more than 50%. So you see the trend in IoT is growing, but this layers of low power wide area networks are growing on the double side of the average of IoT. So we still see LoRaWAN and mioty one of the most bullish technologies because they cover a lot of fields. Normally IoT is information and in most of the case, I would say in more than 90% of the cases, the information is so, so small that you can use loRaWAN and Mioty. It’s like a temperature, it’s like a leak sensor that says yes or no, a parking sensor, garbage sensor showing you the percentages of the whole full is or cheapest tracking. This is all very short binary systems where you can transport easily with loRaWAN or Mioty. Those are the the biggest use cases out there as well. The other bank advantage brings is if the packages are so small with those technologies, the power that is used in a sensor is very minor. So we have sensors in this low power wide area where the sensors survive up to 10 years, right? So if you go back 10 years where this technologies didn’t exist, they had to, let’s say, let’s take the example for parking sensors, you had to open the ground, you have to put wires, electricity wires because you were either using WiFi or a sim bay sim card in the same that was very energy consumed. So the insulation itself was super, super expensive. Sometimes 20 times more expensive than the sensor itself. Today a parking sensors costs around 90 euros that just glue it on the ground and it’s done. So it, this opens a lot of new doors and the use case we see in this areas is agriculture. So imagine somewhere in Malaysia or somewhere in Latin America where you have hundreds of hectares of land with plantations and with some single gateways you can cover an area of 30 kilometers. This is not possible with other technologies like same wifi, Bluetooth or whatever is there out in the market. But also the other technologies stuff there advantages, I mean how many messages do you want to send per minute, per second per day, per per month? How big is the load? So that’s the main reason why you have different technologies. But if I would bet on a horse, then I would pet really be on the load power wide area protocols and that’s where we have 100% focus as LORIOT.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. and what, you know we, we’ve talked here about these different technologies on the connectivity side, we talked about the market in general. One thing I wanted to ask you is with the way you view the market and kind of interact with customers, what are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve come across or that you see as an organization that, that the industry is either facing currently or really needs to be thinking about going forward?
– [Julian] One of the biggest challenges is for sure the complexity still has today because the vertical, the vertical solution is quite long from the sensor to the gateway to the communication to the encryption, to the data storage, to the IoT applications, et cetera. And I always explain to people that IoT is like a big picture with 50 puzzle pieces. So you need to stick them together. We at LORIOT, we might offer five to 10 of this puzzle pieces, but you still need to go for the other puzzle pieces to find a harmony between everything. Of course we have partners to offer the gateways, the sensors, we have many partners also on the IT platform, so we can nearly offer the complete vertical chain, but this has to come through partners and this has to be a good matching. The gateways need to be integrated, the sensors have to be certified, the IT application, they need to have the right APIs connected with our system and this requires a lot of collaboration with external companies to be able in the end to bring to the end customers the complete vertical chain. And there are also many customers that have bit lost in space, as I said before, they come and they say, Look, we need to do something industry 4.0. And from our side it’s a lot of hand holding. The industry is quite new and there are not many professionals, experts in the market that understand the full chain. So it’s a lot of extrovert from our side as an added value to our partners and customers. to help them and explain them what they exactly need.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Well I, I did mean to ask this earlier, but you kind of mentioned something in, in your answer there that, that prompted this in my head. How, what is, how have you all approached the market just in general as you’re focused on more of these long range solutions? Obviously you said you focused a lot on the software side of things. what is it about what you do that’s kind of unique in the approach that you take to the market and how you’ve been able to kind of sustain that that in in the kind of current climate now?
– [Julian] Well, it, it connects a little bit with your, with your question before where I said that it’s still complex and it’s maybe triple to hear that one of our strengths is simplicity because as the market is already quite complex, you really tend to, we have built a system that is very smartly and logically built to make it easier for our end customers. It’s on the technical side, I would say we have a very, one of the leading systems worldwide, but also on the business side we are known tends to be very flexible in creating tailor made models. And I mostly prefer to offer let’s say an an all in fee where you, where the customers just buy a package and everything is included, like support is included, license, include package of sensors, package of gateways, like really the the full basket. That’s something that is seen very, let’s say seen good in the market. When we participate in some RQs, the customers like this fact of simplicity. We are also very transparent and it took us, let’s say time to get known in the market because I think as you know, we are a Swiss company and I think we behave also very typically Swiss. We are very much in background. We are not as noisy as some other competitors in the market. We do our work, we do our work pretty well I think in the last month we have seen the payback that we have built up a track record. The larger companies, they speak to each other and they know that if they collaborate with us, they to get delivered the right, the right quality.
– [Ryan] And, and for audience out there who may want to learn more or kind of follow up on this conversation, discover a little bit more about the company’s doing, what’s the best way that they can do that?
– [Julian] Can you repeat the question please?
– [Ryan] Yeah, if for audience out there who wants to learn more about the company, more about what you have going on, follow up on this discussion, that kind of thing, what’s the best way that they can do that?
– [Julian] Ah, okay. Yeah, it’s pretty simple. So we are, we have started one year ago to present more use cases in our homepage. This is why would be to get to our homepage, click on the part where you can read the use cases and we present many use cases all around the world with our partners from agriculture to smart city to construction sites to to metering. There people can read a little bit more about LORIOT what are the real use cases, whereas money invested, where are the net growing? And they can of course subscribe also on our newsletter. And we are quite active on LinkedIn presenting what we do to show, because that’s also one of the questions of the customers, Okay, what can we do with IoT? We have customers and they, most of them struggle to grow. So it’s also our duty to help them, to show them, look, this is available buy the sensors, connect them, grow your network indirectly. It’s also an advantage for us because if they grow the network, we also do more business and we increase our revenues.
– [Ryan] A hundred percent. Yeah, absolutely. That’s fantastic. Yeah, I’m excited to have our audience listen to this episode and you know, anytime we talk about LPWAN, we talk about the current state of the market. We’re talking about these different use cases that are, are really being more enabled now than ever. I think it’s very valuable information and I’m excited to kind of have our audience here from your all’s perspective. Not just what you have going on at the company, but at the same time just generally your how you kind of view the market, which is, which is great. So I truly appreciate your time and I really thank you for taking, taking some time today to, to chat with me and I think our audience is getting a lot of value to this episode.
– [Julian] Yeah, more than welcome
– [Ryan] All right, everyone, thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as it become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.